Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker
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STILLWATER — A Minnesota judge didn't doubt the the progress a confessed drug dealer had made in treatment, but said those steps weren't enough to avert a prison sentence. Washington County District Court Judge John McBride sentenced Karl R. Heinrichs on Monday, Dec. 4, to six years in prison — four of which must be spent behind bars. The Stillwater man, arrested last year after a sting that involved both Minnesota and Wisconsin authorities, pleaded guilty in June to second-degree drug sales.
Mike Perucca was heading to a medical call Sunday night in the town of St. Joseph when another emergency caught his attention before he got out of his North Hudson neighborhood. "I noticed an abnormal amount of smoke in the area," he said. It didn't take long for the St. Joe first responder — who also works as a Hudson firefighter — to determine the smoke was coming from a garage fire at 700 Fourth St. N. Perucca, who's also the city of Hudson's fire inspector, noticed an orange glow in the garage as he approached the house just before 10:30 p.m. Nov. 12.
The Stillwater man accused of stashing more than 130 pounds of pot in a St. Croix County storage unit could avoid prison, according to statements made last week in court. The attorney for Karl R. Heinrichs said Oct. 25 that a recommendation in a related Minnesota case calls for the 45-year-old to receive a combination of probation and jail. The St. Croix County Circuit Court hearing was originally set for a plea and sentencing, but that was called off after defense attorney Eric Johnson announced a surprise development in the Minnesota case.
A guilty plea was entered and two sexual assault charges were dismissed this week in the case of a former Hudson girls basketball coach. Under a plea agreement announced Tuesday, Oct. 31, Louis J. French pleaded guilty to using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime. Three other charges — first-degree child sex assault, repeated sex assault of the same child and causing a child to view sexual activity — were dismissed as part of the agreement.
A collision with a deer on Interstate 94 led to a chain-reaction crash involving 10 vehicles during Thursday’s morning rush hour in Hudson. The Wisconsin State Patrol said the crash occurred at 5:50 a.m. in westbound traffic near the Hudson bridge over the St. Croix River. No injuries were reported, but five of the vehicles involved had to be towed from the scene.
PRESCOTT -- Police said a body recovered last week in Prescott was not the result of foul play. Prescott Interim Police Chief Rob Funk said an employee at Leo’s Landing (137 Front St.) discovered a woman’s body Thursday, Oct. 19 near the confluence of the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers. According to a Pierce County Sheriff’s Office log, numerous deputies were called at 11:58 a.m. to assist at the scene.
After four maddeningly close losses to start 2017, Woodbury appeared to turn a corner halfway through the season. The Royals completed that comeback Wednesday by winning its fourth straight game, packing a head of steam as the 4-4 team heads into sectional playoffs behind a 21-7 home win over Stillwater.
Hudson police opened a death investigation Wednesday after the discovery of a woman’s body along the St. Croix River. Police Chief Marty Jensen said the woman was a 74-year-old Hudson resident. Police were attempting to confirm her identity with relatives, he said. The death, he said, does not appear suspicious “at this point in time.” The chief said the woman had not been reported missing.
An assistant Hudson High School girls' basketball coach was placed on unpaid leave from the school district amid sex-related charges filed this week in St. Croix County Circuit Court. Louis J. French, 42, was charged Tuesday, Aug. 29, with first-degree child sex assault, repeated sexual assault of a child, using a computer to aid in a sex crime and causing a child to view sexual activity.
A St. Paul skydiving instructor had anything but a soft landing last month after allegedly attempting to parachute from atop a St. Croix County cellphone tower. Court documents filed this week state the man’s parachute got hung up on power lines on the way down, snagging him and causing him to receive an electrical shock. The 44-year-old survived the July 29 incident, but was later charged with two felonies stemming from the failed attempt, which left 127 customers without power for nearly two hours.